Transformation of meiotic drive into hybrid sterility in Drosophila

Jackson Bladen, Hyuck-Jin Nam, Nitin Phadnis,  bioRxiv,  2024.

Hybrid male sterility is one of the fastest evolving intrinsic reproductive barriers between recently isolated populations. A leading explanation for the evolution of hybrid male sterility involves genomic conflicts with meiotic drivers in the male germline. There are, however, few examples directly linking meiotic drive to hybrid sterility. Here, we report that the Sex-Ratio chromosome of Drosophila pseudoobscura, which causes X-chromosome drive within the USA subspecies, causes near complete male sterility when moved into the genetic background of the Bogota subspecies. In addition, we show that this new form of sterility is genetically distinct from the sterility of F1 hybrid males in crosses between USA males and Bogota females. Our observations provide a tractable study system where non-cryptic drive within species is transformed into strong hybrid sterility between very young subspecies.

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